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German wind power firms target Quebec  

Established German wind energy companies see the nascent Quebec market as an opportunity to increase market share as well as work their way deep into the Americas, an industry networking session was told yesterday.

Among the scores of companies – Canadian and international – that participated in Hydro-Québec’s current call for tender of 2,000 megawatts of wind power was REpower Systems, a German-based giant that has yet to make its mark in Canada.

“We see Canada as a premier wind market, one of the Top 10 globally within the not distant future,” REpower’s Matthias Schubert told a luncheon organized by the Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

And Quebec’s call for tender – which closed in September – offered a “very interesting opportunity to start” doing business in Canada, said Schubert, whose company, the third-largest in Germany, is active in Europe and the Asia Pacific region. Last year, it won its first contract in the U.S.

WKA Montage Canada Inc. set up shop in Montreal in 2004 to prepare for the Quebec bid, company executive Marco Penk, told about 200 event participants. The German-based company, whose key activities include building foundations for wind towers, has global ambitions.

“We believe that Quebec is the right place to export our activities across Canada and the U.S. …. and maybe into South America,” Penk said.

Interest in the Quebec tender is intense. More than 25 developers proffered 66 bids for wind farms in proposals totalling more than 7,700 megawatts, or almost four times the amount that Hydro-Québec is seeking to add to its network. The new wind farms are expected to generate about $4 billion in investment and create about 1,500 jobs, according to rough industry calculations.

The utility’s first call for tender of 1,000 megawatts generated $1 billion in investments by the consortium of companies that won the contracts, Claude Descôteaux, president of the Associations québécoise de la production de l’énergie renouvelable, said yesterday.

One controversial element of the current Quebec tender is its “local content” requirements.

Developers must guarantee the expenditure of at least 30 per cent of wind-turbine costs in the Gaspé region and at least 60 per cent of its total wind farm costs in Quebec.

REpower, which has an office in Montreal, proposes to source its steel towers, wind turbine blades and electrical components from facilities based in the Gaspé and Matane regions, the company said. It is part of the St. Laurent Energies consortium which submitted eight proposals with a total capacity of 1,048 megawatts.

A Hydro-Québec official said the utility will announce the winning bids this spring.

By Lynn Moore

The Gazette

24 January 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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